Greek Conversation & On Stage Groups
Joint performance of Greek classic features delicious food and comic drama ...and it all started with olive oil
Tuesday 22 March 2011
For the 25 year anniversary celebration of ZIWA by the On Stage Group, Zorina chose the collaboration of Interest Groups.
Thus the On Stage Group, together with the Greek Conversation and Culture Groups collaborated to do a reading of a synopsis of the ancient Greek play Lysistrati by Aristophanes in parallel - in modern Greek and English as well as an introduction and conclusion in Ancient Greek.
This play symbolizes the power of women to effect change (in this case to bring a war to an end). This is a timeless play as wars have always been part of human history and the position of women vs. men in society has always been a matter to be grappled with.
Lysistrati was written nearly 2,500 years ago by Aristophanes a comic playwright of ancient Greece, at a time when women had little say in matters of state. Aristophanes wrote this play during the 30 year Peloponnesian war (between Athens and Sparta) when a third of the male population was killed.
One wonders why Aristophanes, a male playwright, would write a play about women for an all-male cast and all-male audience that suggests that things would be better with women in charge. Quite a risky undertaking to say the least. Which might explain why such a serious matter would be written as a comedy.
Aristophanes was probably so disillusioned with the inability of men to end this war, that he suggested, through the use of comedy, that women could be the answer for peace.
Presentation of the joint project
Our Lysistrati project was first presented at this year's ZIWA International Women's Day celebration, an unforgettable evening graciously organized by Zorina at her home. This project, which was so relevant on this occasion, was included in the evening's program.
Martha and Christine described the project and read an excerpt to the audience from the happy moment in the play when the vow was made to end the war.
Premiere including Greek buffet
The parallel reading premiered at the Züich location of On Stage chairlady Christine Huvos's workplace, and husband Urs's practice, where about 30 people, members and guests of the groups met to set out a fine spread of traditional Greek foods and wine. Cheeses, olives, green salads (no tomatoes then), lentils, dates, grapes and other delicious goodies were contributed by all the eager guests. Georgia M from the Greek group made sure that everything was authentic. Wine was poured, everyone present helped themselves, and the Greek and On Stage ladies compared notes about the play.
The Greek ladies had practised their parts and each role in the classic drama was allocated to one actor. The On Stage group took turns with their parts to allow everyone to take to the stage. Narrator Shirley E set the scene and the fun and games began. Alternate lines were read in Greek and English. Some parts called for everyone to declaim together. Christine H. directed this first performance and she was happy with the first reading.
Ghost Writer (Comedy Club) and Calendar Girls director Julie-Anne Smith has graciously offered to help us prepare for a future event, in case we take up Ulrike Winkler on her kind invitation and hold a private reading of Lysistrati for ZIWA at her home. In addition, a prospective new ZIWA member, French director Hélène Helfgott, who attended our "premiere" at the practice, has also offered to lend us her expertise.
This collaboration of the On Stage Group and the Greek Culture Group has not only been a success, but also an enriching experience for all the members who participated. Through this project that our Groups embraced with enthusiasm, many of us met each other for the first time. It even inspired On Stage members to attempt to learn some Greek with lessons offered through Chrissa's Greek Conversation Group! And to think that this whole project started with olive oil... with Christine wanting to make an event of Georgia's olive oil tasting!
Martha Baladis, Christine Huvos and Julia Newton, 13 April 2011.
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